Venus of Laussel
The Venus of Laussel is a Venus figurine, a 1.5 foot high limestone bas-relief of a nude female figure, painted with red ochre. It was carved into a large block of fallen limestone in a rock shelter (abri de Lausselfr:Abri de Cap Blanc) in the commune of Marquay, in the Dordogne department of southwestern France. The carving is associated with the Gravettian Upper Paleolithic culture (approximately 25,000 years old). It is currently displayed in the Musée d'Aquitaine in Bordeaux, France.
The figure holds a wisent horn, or possibly a cornucopia, in one hand, which has 13 notches. According to some researchers, this may symbolize the number of moons or the number of menstrual cycles in one year.
Alexander Marshack said about the Venus of Laussel that "One cannot conjecture on the basis of one engraved sequence any meaning to the marks, but that the unusually clean horn was notated with storied marks is clear."
Discovery and display
The figure was discovered in 1911 by J. G. Lalanne, a physician. It was carved into large block of limestone in a rock shelter (abri de Laussel) at the commune of Marquay in the Dordogne department of southwestern France. It is now in the Musée d'Aquitaine in Bordeaux, France.
- Marshack, p. 335.
- Marshack, Alexander (1991), The Roots of Civilization, Moyer Bell Ltd, Mount Kisco, NY.
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